Travel Bloggers Share their top Once-in-a-Lifetime, Bucket list Adventures for 2018!
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In the wake of each new year, I spend time goal setting, dreaming…and creating my travel bucket-list for the upcoming year. I know I can’t be alone! If you too, are searching for the perfect adrenaline-pumping, once-in-a-life time adventures to add to your 2018 bucket list, you have come to the right place! I’ve recruited successful travel bloggers to share their top adventures from all around the world! Let the wanderlust begin…
World’s Highest Bungee Jump – Macau, China
Jess from Jess Travels
I did the World’s highest bungee jump back in 2014 and I have to admit, I’m still pretty darn proud of myself! The bungee is in Macau- otherwise known as ‘The Vegas of China’- and you jump from a 233m (764ft) high platform at the top of the Macau Tower. It is a bucket list essential for any adrenaline junkies out there! The free fall is around 6 seconds which doesn’t sound long but that’s a very long time to be hurtling at full speed toward the earth! The only negative about this experience is the price tag. If you want the full package with videos and photos included, it will set you back just short of $500 US dollars. If you are mad about high adrenaline activities like myself, then I’d say it’s totally worth it as a ”once in a lifetime experience”. Be warned – if you are really terrified of heights this may not be for you. You also cannot get a refund if wimp out at the top!
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Hiking Pulpit Rock – Norway
By Jurga from Full Suitcase
There are so many adventures that would qualify as ‘bucket list worthy’, but if I have to choose just one from our recent travels, it would be standing on the Pulpit Rock in Norway. The Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen in Norwegian) is a steep cliff rising 1980 feet (604 m) above the Lysefjord near Stavanger, South of Norway. Often described as one of the world’s best viewing platforms, Preikestolen offers incredible views over the beautiful fjord below. I don’t know what’s more impressive – to see the Pulpit Rock’s sheer wall from the side or to stand on it.
The Pulpit Rock hike takes about 4 hours (2 hours each way) and I would describe it as moderate. There are some steep sections involved and the path can be quite wet, but it’s doable for anyone in a regular physical condition. We hiked to the Pulpit Rock with kids and they loved the challenge. If I ask them what they remember best from our trip to Norway, they all talk about the Pulpit Rock. It left a very big impression on all of us! Without a doubt, standing on the Pulpit Rock is a bucket-list experience; one you will never forget!
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Helicopter Ride Over Niagara Falls – Canada
By Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
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Swimming with Sharks – South Africa
By Nicky from Go Live Young
As we approached Scottburgh, south of Durban in South Africa, we were all feeling a little nervous as we were about to go swimming with sharks in the ocean! Blue Wilderness offers both cage diving and free swimming with Oceanic Black Tip Sharks. After a thorough safety briefing we went down to the beach for a surf launch, very exciting in itself. Our captain expertly got us out through the large breaking waves, while we sat on the dinghy sides hanging onto the safety ropes. It was just like being on a rollercoaster but we made it out safely.
Once at the dive site, a bait bucket was thrown over the side of the boat filled with the sharks’ favourite food: sardines. Immediately there were Oceanic Black Tips circling the boat. Our children had opted to start in the cage. The cage was put into the water and in they went. Initially, they were terrified, even surrounded by a cage, but gradually they calmed down and began to look at the sharks under the water with their masks and snorkels.
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Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp – Nepal
By Jess from A Blonde and Her Passport
At the start of 2017, I told myself that I wanted to hike to Mt Everest Base Camp. I tossed around the idea for a couple of days before falling into my hectic work schedule and promptly forgot about it. A couple of months later, the idea sprung back in my head and I spontaneously booked an Everest Base Camp hike for the end of May. I had two months to prepare for my adventure to the base of the highest mountain in the world and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Fast forward to May and I was en route to Kathmandu, where I would begin my adventure. The chaotic and crazy city of Kathmandu was probably the biggest culture shock I’d felt for awhile. It was complete madness! The streets were a flurry of activity and the dust seeped into every possible crevice. However this was only the beginning.
The flight to Lukla where we would begin our trek is touted as being the most dangerous in the world. Flying onto a 500m long runway that slopes steeply up a cliff was definitely the most exhilarating (albeit terrifying) way I’ve started my day! Our hike began at 2,850 metres above sea level and over the next six days we would ascend to up to about 5,100 metres before reaching Base Camp. We stayed in little villages, ate more potatoes than I want to admit and felt dwarfed by the mammoth Himalayan mountain ranges that surrounded us. We battled with the altitude, shared hiking tracks with donkeys and put up with not showering for days. I had never felt so out of place, yet so present in the moment. The views were breathtaking (and so was the altitude!) and even with the greasy hair, the wind-chapped lips and the stinky clothes, I wouldn’t have changed where I was for a second.
Coming from the relatively flat country of Australia, being amongst the gigantic mountain ranges ignited a spark and left me wanting to see more. We reached Base Camp, explored the natural ice sculptures of the Khumbu Icefall and even woke before sunrise to hike to Kala Patthar, the highest point on the trek. Every step was a challenge but it came with monumental rewards. Making that spontaneous decision to hike to Everest Base Camp was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done thus far!
Skydiving in Taupo, New Zealand
By Shweta from Zest In A Tote
There is nothing like skydiving for sheer heart-stopping adrenalin and there is no place like New Zealand to do it. Skydiving in Taupo – often referred to as the skydiving capital of the world – is an adventure like none other. I was on my 2-week honeymoon in this postcard-beautiful country, and all that the husband wanted was to cuddle in a room. I wasn’t going to let a simple fact like that come in the way of adventure!
On the ground, tandem diving with all the safety precautions and professional instructors seemed like a great, yet safe thrill. My instructor Matt had done about 10,000 jumps until my tandem dive with him. The hesitation started to creep in, that too slowly when the small plane took off and rose to climb to 15,000 feet. More doubts poured in when my husband and I were asked to make our way slowly to the front. And then someone opened the door of the aircraft. The wind swirling outside sounded deafening inside the small plane. My husband behind me yelled, “Why jump off a perfectly good plane?”. The rush, while falling at the speed of roughly 200 km per hr, has to be experienced to be believed. Then my instructor Matt pulled the parachute chord and we were floating gently. New Zealand’s magnificent landscapes take on an extra dimension when you are this high up. I got incredible views of Lake Taupo, snow-capped mountains and the vast fields below.
Hiking Machu Picchu – Peru
Jeanine from Le Wild Explorer
Visiting Machu Picchu, one the Seven Wonders of the World, is a goal that many wish to accomplish! For the adventurers, hiking the Inca Trail is the ultimate Machu Picchu experience. The classic Inca Trail trek is a four day, three-night journey. The 26-mile (42 km) journey starts at Piscacucho and takes you through archaeological sites in a variety of terrain and climate changes.
Along the Inca Trail, you’ll hike up two mountains that are over 13,000 feet and a third pass, Phuyupatamarca, which is a breathtaking archaeological site that rests in the clouds, is just over 12,000 feet above sea level. The second day is said to be the most challenging, this is mostly due to the altitude and hiking up the highest point in the trail. However, the views are stunning and with a limited number of hiking permits (only about 200 permits are allocated for tourists), you’ll feel the tranquility of the mountains.
Don’t be shocked to find unexpected visitors on the trail. These mountains are home to plenty of llamas that help keep the trail well groomed, so you’ll see more furry friends once you enter Machu Picchu. On that magical morning, when you’re hiking in the pitch-black early AM and watching the sunrise just before reaching Sun’s Gate, you’ll be greeted with that iconic view of Machu Picchu as the clouds pass through the mountains.
Exploring the Galapagos Islands
Kelly from Girl with the Passport
For me, my visit to the Galapagos Islands was the trip of a lifetime. Sure, I had been to many other countries, but there was something both magical and mystical about the unique array of wildlife that call this archipelago home.
I mean, in how many other places can you hop from one craggy rock to another as you dodge marine Iguanas that are voraciously spitting salt at you in a not-so-friendly greeting? Or how about snorkelling through the crystal blue waters off the island of San Cristobal? You look to your left and see a sea lion gliding by; you look to your right, and see a sea turtle calmly gliding through the ocean; you look down and see dozens of white tipped sharks calming laying on the rocky sea floor. In this island paradise, it feels like no matter where you look, there is always some new and exciting animal encounter that awaits you.
It almost feels as though you are trekking through one of the last great natural frontiers, where 200 year old tortoises are king; where blue-footed boobies dance for their mates and almost look at you as if to say, “well what are you doing here?”. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that will make you feel as though you are in an episode of National Geographic.
Trekking & Boating the Kinabatangan River – Malaysian Borneo
By Tara from Nutrition Abroad
Of all the 2018 bucket list destinations you may consider, few may occupy such a precarious existence as the protected wildlife zones along the Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo. Home to majestic giant hornbills, the indigenous proboscis monkey, Bornean orangutans and pygmy elephants all in one concentrated area, it is widely considered the best place for wildlife viewing in all of Southeast Asia. However, this jungle paradise is largely the byproduct of unspeakable tragedy. As the global market for palm oil expands, natural habitats for these creatures are being destroyed as they are confined to ever shrinking tracts of land surrounded by plantations. The economic viability of tourism may be the only thing that is preventing the inevitable collapse of this tropical Eden.
In our three days and two nights, we saw all of the aforementioned animals including twice seeing groups of more than 60 elephants. In one of the most magical encounters, we returned by boat around dusk to see a giant herd of elephants grazing just beside our camp. As darkness fell, our camp was surrounded and we ate dinner while listening to the sounds of these majestic creatures all around us. The local villagers who run the tours and camps are among the friendliest we have met, and are eager to share their local knowledge and culture. With the threat of one of the world’s most powerful industries looming, wildlife tours along the Kinabatangan River may truly be one of the world’s ‘now or never’ experiences.
Gorilla Trekking – Uganda
Cali from Cali on the Go
What comes to mind when you think bucket list? Skydiving? Cool! Bungee jumping? Badass. But then what? What in the world can you do to top those adrenaline pumping activities? How about going on an 8 hour trek through an impenetrable forest, only made accessible by men with massive machetes, on a search to observe 250kg mountain gorillas in their natural habitat?
Okay, let’s back up a second; this epic trek is not just for the indescribable adrenaline rush. The mountain gorillas are a severely endangered species and there are strict rules in place in order to view them. This adventure also costs a pretty penny, but the money generated goes toward conservation and local development projects which allow for the community to become invested in gorilla conservation as well.
Such a trip contains every facet of a great adventure! The unknown: you are not guaranteed to see the gorillas. Physical exertion: the gorillas literally live on the side of the mountain and to see them, you must climb! Natural beauty: between the landscape and the magical creatures, your surroundings are overwhelming. Heart-pumping adrenaline: have you ever seen a gorilla pound his chest and grunt on tv? Well imagine that 10 feet in front of your face just prior to him sprinting off in your direction. So, what are you waiting for?
Swimming with Manta Rays – Maldives
By Vicki from Vicki Viaja
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
By Becky from Becky the Traveller
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has to be one of the toughest hikes I have ever done. But don’t let that put you off having it on your Bucket list! The feeling you have after conquering it is absolutely amazing and makes it all worth it. I opted for a 6-day hike up the Rongai route. Days 1 to 4 were fairly steady, there was beautiful scenery to look at and the day’s hiking gradually acclimatized you in preparation for the big summit night hike. You can read more here about why I chose the Rongai Route here.
On day 4, you arrive at base camp, have dinner and try to have a few hours’ sleep. Then at 11 pm, you crawl out of your warm sleeping bag to do the final hike to the top; it’s a slow pace because of the high altitude. All I remember is putting one foot in front of the other, and at one point I asked my guide to sing to me – a good distraction from the cold and dark! Eight hours later I made it to the top for sunrise; it was absolutely beautiful! To celebrate, I treated myself to some chocolate and clicked away with my camera. The memories of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro stay with you forever, and it feels amazing knowing you’ve stood on the highest mountain in Africa.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Bianca from Its All Bee
I imagine when people think of Victoria Falls, they think of just seeing it – from afar, that is. Most don’t know that Victoria Falls has many adventures awaiting an adrenaline junkie. From above, from below, from the side and right on top of it. Nothing prepares you for the awe-inspiring views of taking in the world’s largest falling sheet of water from above in a helicopter or microflight or an adrenaline-packed bungee or white-water rafting on the Zambezi that feeds Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is not just one bucket list item but a mere river where a lot of bucket(lists) are filled from.
My favourite of these adventures is experiencing Victoria Falls after a rainy season. The volume of water churned out by the Zambezi is nothing like you have ever seen. You can see the steam created from the spray waterfall from miles away. When you are close by on the knife bridge, you are sprayed as the Zambezi pours over the 100-meter gorge. Also known to locals as Mosi-ya-tuna, which translates into the ‘The Smoke Which Thunders’, you can feel and hear the roar as the water cascades over endlessly. As if by magic, in the dry season the water volumes on Victoria Falls lowers enough to make way for yet another adventure on this beautiful natural wonder, when you can walk around on part of the waterfall and explore Livingstone island.
Not only that, you also have the Devil’s Pool: A pool that is hidden on the edge of the Victoria Falls. An adventure made for brave hearts. For souls that ache for an adventure packed itinerary. Can you see yourself sitting on the edge of the Devil’s Pool with 100-meter drop behind you?
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Exploring the 7th Continent – Antarctica
Stephanie from Road Unraveled
Antarctica is the ultimate bucket list destination. To describe it well in words is impossible; you have to see the towering glaciers, the crisp white snow, and the blue icebergs that bob up and down in the dark Southern Ocean. You have to watch as Gentoo penguins waddle down steep “highways” between their nesting site and their feeding grounds, as enormous seals slide from the ice into the water or sun themselves as birds fly overhead. Antarctica is even more than the scenery and wildlife that beckon thousands of curious travellers each year. An Antarctic cruise will introduce you to people from all over the world. After a day of exploring the continent, there is something truly unifying about debriefing it all with new friends as the conversation shifts from the day’s events to life in the corners of the world represented at the dinner table.
Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations on the globe, and there are many reasons it’s a once-in-a-lifetime destination so many people want to experience it. For some people it is the chance to stand on their seventh continent, and for others it is an opportunity to visit the local residents—penguins, seals, whales, and birds who have adapted to exist in an extreme environment. Whatever your reasons or expectations may be, prepare to have them exceeded. Antarctica is an incredible place, and you may be surprised to find one visit in a lifetime isn’t enough!
Observing the Northern Lights – Lapland, Finland
By Katalin Waga from Our Life, Our Travel
The Garden Route Road Trip – South Africa
By Jemma from World Wide Shopping Guide
The Garden Route might sound like something your grandma would enjoy, but in reality it’s a bucket list-worthy adventure of a lifetime! Where else can you ride an ostrich, swim with great white sharks, and quaff some of the best wine South Africa has to offer? During the trip we stayed in hostels, huts, and a high-end trailer park. All of the accommodation was luxurious. As South Africa is a very affordable country, you can live like a king on a backpacker’s budget. The adventure starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth, 470 miles to the east. There are a few different ways to tackle the route, but each one involves breathtaking drives through nature – from the lush Cape wine lands and sun-soaked Atlantic beaches, to the barren Klein Karoo.
Our first stop was in Franschhoek, a sleepy town near Stellenbosch. It’s home to the famous wine tram, which trundles through the centuries-old vineyards. You hop off, enjoy a tasting flight (and buy a few bottles to bring home) then hop on for your next stop. Another highlight is Oudtshoorn – the ostrich capital of the world and another great place to buy South African souvenirs. The area is famous for South African port and ostrich products, including handmade feather boas and ostrich leather handbags. And that’s just scratching the surface: from zip-lining and hiking, to fine dining and surfing, the Garden Route has it all. Definitely don’t miss whale watching in Hermanus, crocodile cage diving in Paarl, and lunch at Ronnie’s Sex Shop.
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Staying in an Underwater Hotel Room – Pemba, Tanzania
By Meghna from Trailing Abroad
While waking up in a luxury tent in the jungle is something a lot of people are adding to their bucket lists, how often can you think of waking up in the middle of the ocean surrounded by different aquatic species? We spent our first wedding anniversary ticking this extraordinary item off our bucket list and what a surreal experience it was! The Manta Resort in Pemba island, Tanzania offers the unique opportunity of staying aboard their floating water villa with an underwater bedroom. As fancy as it sounds, this definitely is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Our day in this haven was spent in solitude, staring away to infinity in all directions from the living room of our floating villa and marvelling at fish passing by the windows of our underwater room. At night, we ringed in our anniversary with a bottle of champagne while stargazing at the terrace and revelling in the blissful silence of the world. The villa is so beautiful that we were constantly shuttling between spending time at the terrace, the underwater room as well as the living area at the sea level. Needless to say, the underwater bedroom was like no other and we barely slept that night for the fear of missing a glimpse of our aquatic neighbours. Besides housing the Manta Resort, Pemba in an incredible island full of idyllic beaches and friendly locals. Our holiday in Pemba and our experience of staying in the underwater room remains our most treasured travel memory till date.
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Chimpanzee Trekking – Tanzania
Chimpanzee Trekking in Tanzania at Gombe National Park (home to Jane Goodall’s famous research centre) is hands-down one of the best adventures I’ve had! Heck, the journey to get to Gombe is an adventure in itself! I spent two days with a private guide trekking through the humid jungle that spans along Tanzania’s Western coast line. I was extremely lucky to have got so close to the chimps, especially this beautiful girl who willingly posed for my camera! Definitely one to add to your bucket-list.